TAKIA MAYS, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE AND HEIRS-AT-LAW AND/OR WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES OF ROSALYN PACKER, DECEASED APPELLANT
SHOEMAKER PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, LLC AND CAROLINE DEVELOPMENT, LLC APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 11/03/2016
FORREST COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. ROBERT B. HELFRICH TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CARLOS EUGENE MOORE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: PATRICK H. ZACHARY JACK W. LAND
IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Takia Mays, the daughter and beneficiary of Rosalyn Packer,
sued Shoemaker Property Management LLC and Caroline
Development LLC after Packer died in a fire at an apartment
managed by Shoemaker and owned by Caroline. Shoemaker and
Caroline successfully moved for summary judgment because Mays
had not designated an expert witness to support her
negligence theory or her claim for breach of the implied
warranty of habitability. Mays appeals. Finding no error, we
In 2012, Alfreda Miles was residing in an apartment at 200
Tuscan Avenue in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Miles's
sister, Packer, had been having difficulties with Mays, so
Miles allowed Packer to stay with her through the holidays.
On November 15, 2012, a fire broke out in the apartment.
Packer was the only one there at the time and unfortunately
she died as a result.
Both the City of Hattiesburg and the State of Mississippi
investigated the fire and reported that "[p]otential
heat/ignition sources identified within the area of origin
included the stove and or some type of human
involvement." Moreover, they both reported that the
"electrical outlets and . . . devices were eliminated as
possible ignition sources." Ultimately, both ruled it an
accidental fire and closed the file.
In January 2012, Miles had reported that her stove would not
turn off. On January 20, 2012, Shoemaker replaced it.
According to the record, there were no new work reports filed
regarding the new stove. In her deposition, Miles testified
that she told George Moore, an electrician, that she had been
having issues with her lights and smoke detector because a
circuit breaker was not working properly. In May 2012, Moore
checked and replaced the breaker that serviced Miles's
air conditioning unit. In his deposition, Moore testified
that the breaker was old and needed to be replaced. But Moore
did not pull out all of the breakers from the box to inspect
the electrical system as a whole, because he had only been
called to repair the air conditioner. In October 2012,
Miles's heat, tub, and kitchen sink were repaired. No
other work orders were placed nor repairs completed between
October 2012 and the fire in November 2012.
Mays sued individually, as the personal representative of
Packer's estate, and on behalf of Packer's
wrongful-death beneficiaries. Mays raised claims of premises
liability and breach of the implied warranty of habitability.
In March 2014, Mays filed a complaint and an amended
complaint. In September 2014, Mays filed a second amended
In January 2015, the original scheduling order set deadlines
for discovery to be completed by July 31, 2015. Mays had to
designate her experts by May 29, 2015. Shoemaker and Caroline
had until June 29, 2015, to designate their experts. In July
2015, the scheduling order was amended to extend discovery to
August 31, 2015.
On October 5, 2015, the circuit court granted Shoemaker and
Caroline's motion for partial summary judgment regarding
Mays's premises liability claim, leaving implied warranty
of habitability as Mays's only remaining claim. On
October 13, 2015, the circuit court excluded J. Albert
McEachern Jr. as an expert witness for Mays. McEachern was
set to testify as to the causation of the fire. On April 12,
2016, the circuit court granted Shoemaker and Caroline's
motion to exclude James Butts's expert testimony, but
denied their motion to exclude James Vickers as an expert.
Butts was also set to testify as to the causation of ...